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Knowing the God Who Knows You - Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24

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A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.

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7/19/2020
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Knowing the God Who Knows You
Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
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20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

Over 175 million people in the United States need some sort of vision correction. From glasses to contacts and corneal reshaping to corrective surgery, there's no question that seeing clearly improves people's quality of life. But what about our spiritual vision? With so many religious, philosophical, and ideological lenses to look through, how do we find the right lens? In this series, Skip Heitzig brings the core doctrines of Christian faith into clear focus. These are the truths that define who God is, who we are, and the choices that every person has to make.

Outline

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  1. God’s Knowledge Is Immeasurable (vv. 1-6)

  2. God’s Knowledge Is Instructional (v. 5)

  3. God’s Knowledge Is Individual (vv. 2-4)

  4. God’s Knowledge Is Inspirational (vv. 5-6, 23-24)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: July 19, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Knowing the God Who Knows You"
Text: Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24

Path

A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God's comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let's observe how God's omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
  1. God's Knowledge Is Immeasurable (vv. 1-6)
  2. God's Knowledge Is Instructional (v. 5)
  3. God's Knowledge Is Individual (vv. 2a-4)
  4. God's Knowledge Is Inspirational (vv. 5-6, 23-24)
Points

God's Knowledge Is Immeasurable (vv. 1-6)
  • Before 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge doubled every twenty-five years. Today, it's estimated that knowledge doubles daily; and every twelve hours by the end of 2020.
  • Imagine someone who knows everything about you—even your thoughts—and still loves you.What we think of God governs everything we do and think.
  • Omniscience is Latin, meaning "all knowledge." God is unlimited in what He knows.Human knowledge is limited, accumulated by limited human beings. God's knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, and without deterioration. God's omniscience is opposed to Open Theism, which teaches that God's knowledge is limited.According to the Bible, God "knows all things" (1 John 3:20).
God's Knowledge Is Instructional (v. 5)
  • The word You is uniquely used to refer to God in verses 4-5.God's knowledge and awareness extends to all times, past, present, and future.God knows what will happen as well as what has already happened; His knowledge is the basis of prophecy.
  • The more details that are added to a picture of the future, the occurrence of those events is less likely.This applies specifically to the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ; it would take roughly one billion years for someone to fulfill all the prophetic utterances concerning Jesus.Biblical prophecy is not guesswork but divine guidance; proof of God's hand working in history.
God's Knowledge Is Individual (vv. 2-4)
  • In Psalm 139:1-6, David used thirteen personal pronouns or adjectives, describing God's unique knowledge. We shouldn't just theologize or philosophize about God—we must personalize His truth through the basics of Bible study:
    • Observation: what the text says
    • Interpretation: what the text means
    • Application: how we apply it personally
  • God knows our movement and our motives, our actions and our activities. When David said, "You understand my thought afar off" (v. 2), he was referring to time, not space. God knows our thoughts and ideas all the time. God's assessment and judgment is better than anyone else's; He knows and cares for people.
God's Knowledge Is Inspirational (vv. 5-6, 23-24)
  • Notice the phrase "hedged me behind and before" (v. 5). The word hedged is from the Hebrew tsur, meaning "nestled" and "protected." If God knows everything, we're surrounded by Him; His hand is upon and over us. Since God is all-knowing, we should submit to Him. Because God's ability transcends our reality, it is best to bow to His immensity. If God is small enough for our minds, He's not big enough for our needs.
  • Consider these principles: Because He knows everything, God knows the worst about us. We shouldn't resort to hiding from God; we should seek Him instead. Since God knows everything, He knows the best about us. God knows everything, so He knows our potential. God sees the imperfections, but He also sees the finished product.
Practice

Connect Up: God's omniscience is seen in several ways in the Bible and in history. Discuss the various aspects of God's knowledge by discussing the following terms. What scriptural examples can you connect to each?
  • Providence: The continuous activity of God in creation by which he preserves and governs. How is God's providence connected to His omniscience?
  • Foreknowledge: The foresight of God concerning the entire course of future events. How does foreknowledge differ from providence?
  • Predestination: The sovereignty of God that still preserves the freedom of human will.
How would you distinguish between providence, foreknowledge, and predestination? How are they similar?

Connect In: God knows everything perfectly. How should this influence our lives and actions within the church? For example, discuss the relationship between God's perfect knowledge and:
  • Worship: How does God call us to worship? And why does it matter?
  • Service: How are we to serve, and what is the connection between God's knowledge and commands?
  • Spiritual gifts and fruit: Knowing God has called and equipped believers, what is the connection between our gift and God's governance? If we know but don't do, what does it profit?
Connect Out: Using Romans 8:29-30, how should our understanding of God's perfect knowledge influence and affect our evangelism to unbelievers? For example, should we get upset when someone doesn't come to Christ? Why or why not? How would God's providence, foreknowledge, and predestination come into play within the process of evangelism. (This is not the time or place to debate Calvinism. Please focus on the biblical text.)

Transcript

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Knowing the God Who Knows You - Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

There is no God. I mean, look at what's going on.

I am my own God.

God, Allah, Buddha, whatever.

He's just waiting to destroy us all.

There's like hundreds of gods. It's just like that bumper sticker says.

I am my own god.

Dog is my copilot.

There is no God.

There is one true God. He's all-knowing, all-powerful, and He loves you.

God isn't really something to worship. He's just waiting to destroy all of us.

I guess there's a God out there somewhere.

I hope there is a God.

God isn't really something to worship.

God, Allah, Buddha.

God is everywhere.

Well, we want to welcome you, don't we, to our family here. And we're glad that you're joining us online. This is the capture that we have for our other campuses, as well as online.

And so we thought we would do this because it's a little more intimate than just capturing a crowd in a large auditorium. We thought we could speak directly to you. Plus, as you heard, we are reaching so many more people in our online community than ever we could fit in a building. And so because of that, we want to take advantage of the technology.

That's why what you're seeing right now-- in a lot of the platforms, you're able to interact with the pastor, get prayer, get counseling, hang around afterwards, and have a meaningful time of community, even technologically. So we do want to welcome you. And we hope you take advantage of that.

I hope you have a Bible somewhere close. I know we all do. So we're going to turn to Psalm 139 for a message I'm calling "knowing the God who knows you"-- Psalm 139, the first six verses.

The world's store of knowledge is increasing at a rate of speed that we never could imagine. We all have access to information right here. We have a little phone. We have a little device. We can get online, and we can find things out. It's now possible to get knowledge instantaneously, so much so that you don't really have to know anything. You just have to know where to get something.

There's a funny story about Albert Einstein. And somebody asked him-- one of his colleagues-- what is your telephone number? And he said, just a minute, got a telephone directory, and looked up his telephone number. And the guy said, wait a minute. You don't remember your telephone number? And Einstein said, why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?

Well, that's how we are today. You don't really have to know stuff. You just have to know where to get stuff. But I remember, as a kid, my parents had a set of encyclopedias and dictionaries. And I was that odd kid who'd like to read dictionaries and read encyclopedia entries. And I would go through it.

And what I noticed is as the years went on and they replaced it with newer sets or newer dictionaries that the new ones were thicker than the old ones. And there were more entries in the encyclopedias and dictionaries than in the old ones. And that's simply because knowledge is increasing. And when it does, we make that knowledge available to everyone else.

Did you know that today, we can store more on a single silicon chip then the entire contents of the famous Library of Alexandria, Egypt? In antiquity, it was two separate buildings that housed between 200,000 and 700,000 volumes. We can fit more information on a single silicon chip.

It's estimated that until 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years, every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. By the year 2013, knowledge around the world cumulatively was doubling every 12 months. And today, it's estimated that knowledge doubles every single day. And by the end of 2020, knowledge will be doubling every 12 hours. It's just gone crazy.

Now, on an individual level, a person with knowledge can be intimidating, even annoying. We've all known those kids who are know-it-alls. They just have all the answers to just about any issue you bring up. Of course you know that. You're a know-it-all. And I imagine that being around Jesus could be a little bit unnerving because He just knew everything. He knew what people were thinking.

We're told that when Philip came to Nathaniel and said, we have found the one that Moses and the prophets spoke about, Jesus the Messiah. And he said, Jesus of Nazareth. And Nathaniel said, can anything good come out of Nazareth? And Philip said, well, come and see.

So he comes to meet Jesus. Jesus sees him coming and says to him, oh, look. There's an Israelite in whom there is no deceit. And he said, well, how do you know me? And Jesus said, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. And at that, Nathaniel said, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.

I don't know what was going on under the fig tree. But it was some private thing, probably prayer to God. And Jesus said, I saw and heard it all. It was enough to shake Nathaniel up for him to realize, I'm dealing with somebody who knows everything. You must be the King of Israel.

Then do you recall when Jesus healed the paralytic? And He said, a man, your sins are forgiven. And the Pharisees heard that and said, that's blasphemy. Nobody can forgive sins but God alone. They were thinking that. The Bible says Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, why are you thinking evil in your hearts? It would be a little spooky to be around somebody who knows every thought that you have.

Imagine somebody who knows everything about you, even what you think, even what you feel. But then imagine somebody who knows everything about you and loves you the way you are. That's really what we're dealing with when it comes to God. He still loves you. It was Francis Bacon who said, knowledge is power. And if that's true, then God is all-powerful because God has all knowledge.

That brings us to Psalm 139. This Psalm is one of the most monumental Psalms in the entire book. And it is a study, a song, a worship song with the attributes of God laced through it. Four attributes of God are studied and mused over in Psalm 139-- God's knowledge, God's presence, God's power, and God's holiness.

Now, theologians have different words for these things. These are the words they would use to describe it-- God's omniscience, His omnipresence, His omnipotence, and His impeccability. I think I like the first words better. They're just easier to say.

But listen, Psalm 139 is not a lecture on theology. It is David, the Bible David, King David's musings on the God that he realizes he has a relationship with. And he writes what he thinks about Him. And this is, again, a song that was ascribed to God with these attributes.

Did you know that what you think about God determines what you think about everything else? That's why theology, this study, 2020, is so important because what you think about God determines what you think about everything else in life. As AW Tozer said, "what a person thinks about God is the most important thing about that person." That's why we want to get in touch with what the Bible really says about who God is.

So we learn a few things in these verses. We're going to read verses 1 through 6. And there's four aspects of God's knowledge I'd like you to notice. Number one, God's knowledge is immeasurable.

Now, as we go through the six verses, I'm going to emphasize some of the words. "O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue. But behold, o Lord, you know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it."

Notice how often he uses terms like "know" and "understand" and "comprehend." He is dealing with this subject of God knows stuff. It's all about what God knows, His knowledge. And the way he writes about it, God's knowledge is immeasurable.

Let's get back to that theological term "omniscience." "Omniscience" is a word that means God knows everything. It comes from two Latin words stuck together, "omni," which is "all," and "sciencia," which is "knowledge"-- all knowledge. God is unlimited in what He knows.

What it technically means is that God, by nature, is without the need to learn anything. God never has to cram for an exam. He is the ultimate knower. He knows every single field of knowledge more than every expert in that field. He knows more about astronomy than the best astronomer, more about biology than any biologist, more about theology than the most astute theologian. He knows more about COVID-19 than Dr. Fauci knows about COVID-19.

God knows it all. I've heard women say, you know, I don't understand men. They're difficult for me to figure out. Of course, I've heard every man that I know say, I can never figure out a woman. God can. God knows both men and women. And guess what? God even understands teenagers.

Now, when it comes to God's knowledge, we always want to compare it with our knowledge because that's how we see how great it is. Our knowledge is different because human knowledge is accumulated knowledge. Our knowledge is the product of tedious learning and backbreaking research and long experience, not God's knowledge. God's knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, and without deterioration.

What it means is God never has to research. He doesn't have to move from one logical premise to another. God never had to go to school. God never has to be informed about anything. Isaiah said in chapter 40, "who has understood the mind of the Lord or instructed Him as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him? Who taught Him knowledge or showed the path of understanding?"

God never says, wow. God never says, huh. I didn't know that. There is no such thing as TMI with God, Too Much Information. God didn't go, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Too much information. No. God has so much information that we could never even comprehend it. That's really the underlying point.

In the Book of Job, one of his friends named Elihu in Job 37 called God "Him who is perfect in knowledge." So you can never tell God something He doesn't know. And He never forgets.

Now, think of all the stuff you've forgotten over the years. Yeah, I mean, I was just even saying what I studied this week I forgot by the time I got here. It's crazy. And you really learn how much you forget when you have kids who go to school and bring a very easy lesson in science at a fourth grade level home. And you go, I don't even remember that. That was way back when, right? So we forget so much.

There is a doctrine you should know about because it's dangerous called "open theism," or the limited knowledge of God, which states that God doesn't know everything. It states that God is actually learning, that God created a universe in which the future is not entirely known, even to God. So be aware of that because there are people who say they believe that.

If that were true, then God is not omniscient. God is unniscient. God is microniscient. God is partniscient. But if you read the scripture, we see God knows everything. John, in 1 John, said, God knows all things. God knows all things. That's 1 John, chapter 3, verse 20. So the Bible underscores this basic premise of the knowledge of God. God's knowledge is immeasurable.

Second thing to make a note of, another aspect of God's knowledge that David muses over in this song, is that God's knowledge is instructional. In verse 4, he says, "there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, o Lord, you know it altogether," or completely. "You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand on me."

Now, in these verses-- I only read a couple. But in all these verses, the word "you" is emphatic. So you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down. You understand my thoughts far off. You comprehend my path.

And the reason it's emphatic is to state you and no one else knows this. In other words, you are like no one else. You are completely unique. You are solitary. You are in a class of your own. So in the Hebrew language, "you" is emphasized.

I remember, as a kid, I used to think that God snitched on me, that God told my mom stuff because I just swore she just knew what I whispered in the next room. And she knew where I was even when I was hiding from her. I was like, how did she know that? God must be telling on me.

Now, in verse 6, David says, "such knowledge"-- this kind of knowledge that I'm talking about that I know you have-- "such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it."

Now, in this verse, David the psalmist is comparing himself with God. He's saying, there's no way I could ever know what you know unless you reveal it to me. And that's really what I want to get at. God has chosen because he has all knowledge to reveal, in part, part of what He knows to us. It's called "revelation." So God's knowledge is instructional.

Socrates used to say, knowledge is the only good. And ignorance is the only evil. Now, if that were true, then God is supremely good. And we are supremely not good because of our ignorance. But the point here, the underlying theme and thought, is that it tells us, it informs us about the God we're dealing with.

See, we're limited in our capabilities of knowledge. God is unlimited in His capability. God's knowledge and God's awareness extends to all times-- past, present, and future. That's how David writes these six verses. So what it means is God knows what will happen just as much as God knows what has happened. See, we can't wrap our minds around that.

That's why prophecy is no big deal to God. We understand history. To God, prophecy, what is coming in the future, is like history. He understands it that well. And this is the basis for about one fourth of your Bible called "predictive prophecy." About one fourth of the Bible is predictive. It is God revealing-- because He knows all things-- revealing what is coming in the future. He instructs us on the future.

So for an example, He announced that Cyrus would deliver the Jews 150 years before Cyrus was alive. We find that in Isaiah chapter 45. In the book of Daniel chapter 2 and other chapters, Daniel predicts the rise and the fall of world-governing empires-- Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome-- way before, centuries before those things ever took place. Zachariah predicted Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, Zachariah chapter 9. That's one of many, many prophecies.

Now, anybody can predict the future. But having those predictions come true is a whole 'nother ballgame. Fulfillment is quite different, especially when you make predictions and you add details. And the more details you add to the prediction you make, like God does, you are entering a realm mathematicians call "compound probability."

So for example, this is the example I always like to use. If I had in my pocket 10 pennies marked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 10-- they're in my pocket. And I make a prediction. I'm going to reach in my pocket, close my eyes, and I will pull out penny marked number one. Well, the odds that I have of doing that are 1 in 10.

But if I then make another prediction and I add to it and I say, now I'm going to reach in my pocket and pick out penny marked number two, now my odds exponentially decrease. The odds of me pulling out penny number two after making the prediction is 1 in 100. And if I make the prediction that I'll pull out three, four, five, all the way to 10 in consecutive order, now I decrease my odds so much that the odds of that happening would be 1 in 10 billion, you see.

So in the scripture, did you know that there are over 300 predictions about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament about what He'd be like, where He'd be born, what His friends would do, who His trader would be, et cetera, et cetera? It's estimated that in 100 billion years, there is no human chance those prophecies could ever be fulfilled without God. It's impossible.

So that's why biblical prophecy, God in His knowledge revealing the future, is not just a good guess. It has multiple contingencies that cannot be known or controlled that proves the Bible is different than any other book. It proves its divine origin.

And when a Bible-- yes, yes, yes. And when a Bible prophecy is fulfilled, our faith gets strengthened. It does. It is meant-- God's knowledge of speaking about things in advance is there to bolster our faith.

Listen to what Jesus said in John 14:29. "And now I have told you before it comes" so "that when it does come to pass you may believe." That's what God's knowledge about the future will do. There's just no way to explain the Bible's ability to predict the future unless we acknowledge God as the author because the precision is undeniable.

So to sum up what we've learned so far, God knows everything. And when He uses prophecy, He's showing off. He's showing what He knows. He's showing in advance what He knows. And what that does-- it instructs us, and our faith is bolstered. So God's knowledge is immeasurable. God's knowledge is instructional.

But I love how it continues because it shows us that God's knowledge is individual. Now, notice how David writes this. O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down-- not just our, not just the world. You're not just aware of current events. You know when I sit down and I rise up. You understand my thoughts afar off.

Now, I've counted in these six verses 13 personal pronouns or adjectives. And I'm bringing this up because David is not dealing with God in the abstract. This isn't just a theology course for him. This is not just an academic or philosophical exercise. To David, this is personal. This is personal to him. And he says, you're so amazing. But you're doing it for me. I have a relationship on a personal level with you.

When we read the Bible-- and that's one thing we do a lot here at Calvary. And we teach the Bible a lot-- there's a few things we do. Every pastor does this. And I hope every Christian does this. When you read a Bible verse in the morning, first of all, you observe it. You look at it. And you notice who it's being written to, the background, the setting, et cetera. You're just making an observation.

Then second, once you find out what it says, the second step you take in your mind is called "interpretation," not just what it says. What does it mean? What does it mean to the people that it was spoken to, et cetera?

But the third phase that must be entered into-- and David does that for us to see-- it's called "application." What does it mean to me personally? Because if you just say, I've observed some cool things about the Bible and I've interpreted it this way-- and a lot of people stop with that. Go take the third step and apply it personally to your life. That's what brings life change.

I want to quote JI Packer. He just went to Heaven yesterday. And JI Packer said, if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it's bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us.

I've met a lot of drunk pastors and drunk theologians drunk with their own knowledge. They want to impress you with what they know. But it doesn't always change them because some of those same people have rotten marriages and shallow personal worship. So what David does-- he takes the information and makes the interpretation. But then he makes the application. This is something God is doing for me.

And notice what he is musing on in verse 2. He's saying, God knows my every movement, my sitting down and my rising up, the most mundane actions of life when you get out of bed in the morning and you go to bed or come home in the evening. And what's more, God is interested. He doesn't just know. The point is He cares.

If you go down to verse 17 of this psalm, David expands this a little bit. "How precious are your thoughts to me, o God. How great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awake, I am still with you. All of that is beautiful poetic Hebrew language to say, God, you not only know, but you care. Like Peter said, cash all your cares on Him because God cares for you.

Now, talk about the greatness of God. That's just one person he's writing about. There are 7.8 billion people on Earth today-- 7.8 billion people. God is intimately acquainted with each person. The Bible tells us that. Proverbs chapter 5-- "the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. And He ponders all of his goings."

Now, David on a personal level says, God knows my every movement, my sitting down, my rising up, the most mundane things, or the deepest, most profound things. Not only does He know my every movement. He knows my every motive. For it continues in verse 2, you understand my thought afar off.

Now, that little term "afar off" is a term that refers to time, not space. In other words, you know my thought before I think my thought. While the process is working in my brain and I am going to form the first word, you're already past that point. Before the electrical and chemical signal is transmitted at the synapse of the neuron, God's got the whole thought figured out well in advance. You know my thought afar off. You know my thought before I think it.

Now, back to this unsettling notion. When you're around somebody who knows everything, like people were around Jesus, dealing with this kind of a God can be unsettling. And let me explain that. I've discovered that most people have a fear of being exposed for something. Only they know that something.

And that's why in the age in which we live, this surveillance age, this electronic age, where there's bugging devices and cameras everywhere and tracers even on your phones about where you're going, that bothers us because it's like, wait a minute. I want freedom here. I don't want to be tethered to that.

Or when you're in a restaurant or you're in a public place and you look over and you notice, hey, somebody has been staring at me for a few minutes, you get bothered by that. You get spooked because they're like invading your space with their eyes. They're invading your privacy. And you don't like that. We want our privacy.

David is coming to grips personally with this truth that God knows absolutely everything about me, has gazed and studied my life so intimately, knows what I'm going to think and how I feel even before I do. He's already prepared for that. Like it says in the Book of Hebrews chapter 4, "there is no creature hidden from him. All things are naked and open before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account."

So to put it bluntly, to put it mildly, perhaps, it's just to say, you can't pull the wool over God's eyes. So don't even try. No excuses. Don't gloss over it. That's why it's always good in prayer to be honest with God because He knows the truth anyway.

And by the way, this is the reason God's assessment of the world and God's judgment of people and the world is better than anybody else because God knows the full scoop. When a criminal goes before a judge, the judge hears the testimony and has to make up his mind based upon the knowledge he learns. God knows every single thing, every movement, every motion, every motive. And that's why God's judgment is always better than ours. That's why we want to leave a lot of that judgment to God and not get involved in it ourselves.

So three important aspects of God's knowledge that David is going over in this-- God's knowledge is immeasurable. It is instructional. But it's also individual. It leads us to the fourth. God's knowledge is inspirational.

Now I'm going to take you to verse 5. The psalmist says, "you have hedged me." Notice that word. "You have hedged me behind"-- that is, in my back-- "and before." So you've hedged me in. And you've "laid your hand upon me."

Now, that word "hedged"-- the Hebrew word [NON-ENGLISH] means "to bind" or "to encircle" or "to lay siege to." It was used of an army laying siege to a city. You could translate it David saying, I'm hemmed in like a city under siege by God.

So how are we to interpret that? What does he mean by that? Well, some people think he's simply saying, I'm nestled by God. I'm protected by God. Others look at this negatively and think David is complaining that he's trapped. I'm trapped by God. It's sort of a fatalistic view, as if to say, well, if God knows everything, then I'm hedged in. I'm trapped. I'm a prisoner of fate. I can't really do anything.

Now, I don't think it means that. I actually think it means the first because what he is saying here is, I'm surrounded by God. I'm nestled by God. And the idea that He has laid His hand on me is He has cupped his hands around me. That's the idea of. He's hedged me in. And He's protecting me. He's cupping his hands over me.

So David doesn't see himself as a prisoner of fate. David sees himself as protected by the Father. How do I know that? Because look at what he says in verse 6. Such knowledge is-- it's wonderful. It's too wonderful for me. "It is high. I cannot attain to it." He wouldn't call it "wonderful" if he felt like he was trapped by God fatalistically.

Now also-- go down to verse 17 again-- "how precious are your thoughts to me. How great is the sum of them." That's another positive thing. And then after calling his thoughts "precious," go down to the end of the psalm, Psalm 23.

He kind of circles back to that same prayer, but he says something different. He says, "search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my anxieties. And see if there is any wicked way in me." Since you know everything about me, find every little deficit. "And lead me in the way everlasting."

So to put it all together, he's saying, look, I'd probably blow a fuse trying to figure God out. So the best thing to do is just surrender and submit and yield myself to Him. That's how he ends it. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I can't get it. I can't attain to it. So lead me in the way everlasting. I am just going to submit to God.

So since God's ability transcends my reality, it's best to bow to His immensity. See, if God is small enough for our minds, He wouldn't be big enough for our needs. And so Dave goes-- Dave. David the psalmist, Dave-- we're buddies now-- says, because God is singularly, uniquely like this, and I can't attain to that, it's best for me not to worry about a whole lot. But just ask Him to search me, to know me, and to lead me and to direct my paths.

So that's David's musings about what God knows. Now I'm going to give you three quick takeaway points to sort of sum it all up. Since God knows everything, number one, He knows the worst about us. Number two, since God knows everything, He knows the best about us. And finally, since God knows everything, He knows the potential in us.

Let me unpack those for you to take home. Since God knows everything, God knows the worst about us. In human relationships, we have this fear of rejection. I've talked to a lot of counselors about this. And the fear is-- and a relationship is entered into. But the fear is, once that other person discovers who I really am, they're not going to like who I really am. They're going to reject who I really am. And then I'm going to be without that person's love.

So what happens in relationships, unfortunately, is people resort to hiding, to put their best face on, their best foot forward. And they're never free to be the real them. So if God knows everything, then God already knows the worst about you.

Second, if God knows everything-- and He does-- God knows the best about us. I like this part because sometimes in life, you do the best for people. And the best isn't enough. You may not hit the mark in their estimation. You fail. And when you do, people get critical.

What I love about God is God knows the full scoop about your heart. So we know that Peter-- after he blew it, after he denied the Lord, and he met Jesus afterwards, after the Resurrection at the shores of the Sea of Galilee. And Jesus said, Peter, do you love me? You know the story. It's a very famous one.

I love how Peter ends it. He says, Lord, you know all things. And you know I love you. So you know my heart. You know my failure. But you know everything. You know the worst, but you know the best. You know that I tried. You know that I gave it my best shot. You know that.

And that's what John even says. He says, if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart. And He knows all things. So if God knows everything, He knows the worst about us. If God knows everything, He knows the best about us. Finally, since God knows everything, He knows the potential in us.

God sees every imperfection you see and more. He knows them all. But He also sees the finished product. The Bible says we are His workmanship. We are His work of art. If you know anything about artists, you know that an artist begins a work with a picture in mind. It's not on the canvas yet. It's not in the clay yet. But in mind, he has something that he or she is going to make. And it's already formulated.

So God is working on you and has the end product already formulated. You're His workmanship. And God sees the potential. And sometimes we wonder when we look at the names that Jesus renamed his disciples, like Peter, the rock. This guy is like sand. You should give him a different name.

But Jesus named people like Matthew. And Jesus sees what He can make them into. So he takes us the way we are. But then He sees the finished product.

Remember that bumper sticker? I still see it from time to time. Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. That's what the bumper sticker says. Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. It always bothers me because I think some people put that on so they can speed and get away with it. It's not an excuse, but it is a truth. Christians are not perfect. They're just forgiven.

God knows us in our imperfection. But He knows what He can do with us. He sees the end product. Now, we all know Romans chapter 8, verse 28. We've probably all memorized it. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and know they're called according to His purpose, one of the top versus ever in the Bible.

You really should get acquainted with the next verse. Verse 29 says, "for those that God foreknew," or knew in advance, "He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son." See, God knows so much. And God knows what it's going to take to make you look more and more like Jesus. That's why you go through what you go through. That's God's foreknowledge at work along with His power at work.

So those that God foreknew, He also "predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. And those that He predestined, He also called. And those He called, He also justified. Those He justified, He also glorified." All of those stages are what God does in your life.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

But He says He knows about it from the beginning. He knows what that process is. To God, He already sees your perfection in glory, guaranteed. He knows that. And He's working on your life.

Also, God knows what you need today. And God knows that you need Him today. And for some of you, He's been calling you for a long time. But He knows that today's the day you're finally going to surrender. Like David, you're going to say, lead me in the way everlasting. And I pray that you do.

You know, coming to Christ isn't a laborious thing. It's not like a 10-step, 12-step, 15-step program. It's one step. You come to God. You turn from your sin. And in your turning away from sin, you turn then to Him. It's one step. You turn from Him, turn to Him. Turn from sin, and turn to God. And the Bible calls that "repentance."

I'm going to give you that opportunity if you joined us but you haven't given your life to Christ. You've just observed. I want to give you the opportunity to say yes to Him. So right where you are, in your living room or in the hospital room or at home with a watch party-- maybe you've been invited by a neighbor, and you're just watching this.

And you go, yes. I want to know this God that knows me. I want to walk with this God. I want to be transformed by Him. And I'm going to surrender my life to Him. It's a simple prayer. You just ask Him to come in and do what you can't do on your own.

And so right where you are, why don't you just say something like this? Say, Lord, I admit I'm a sinner. I know that. And I'm sorry for my sin. I believe that you sent Jesus to die for my sin and to rise again from the dead.

I turn from my past. I turn from my sin. And I turn to Jesus as my Savior and my Lord. Fill me with your spirit. Help me. Give me the strength to live the Christian life. I can't do it on my own. I need you to walk with me. Please do that. Lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus' name, amen.

Now let's hope you did that. And if you did that, I'm going to ask you to text the word "saved," S-A-V-E-D, to this telephone number-- 505-509-5433. Once again, real easy-- "saved," S-A-V-E-D, to 505-509-5433.

Or if you're on the computer and you're on the website, calvarynm.church, right in the upper-right-hand corner is the little tab called No God. Just click that with your mouse. Click No God. And somebody will be there to correspond with you and tell you your next step. But can we just say welcome to the family of God if you prayed that prayer?

[APPLAUSE]

Thank you for joining us. And God has a lot in store for you in the future. We want to tell you what that is. So thanks for tuning in. God bless you.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/14/2020
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Seeing Truth Clearly
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Hiram Johnson said, "The first casualty in war is truth." God’s people have been in a cosmic battle since the fall. Satan’s first allegation against truth was in Genesis 3:1: "Has God indeed said...?" Deception regarding truth is Satan's primary occupation. We now live in what might be dubbed a post-truth culture wherein the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In this series, we will look to the "Scripture of Truth" (Daniel 10:21) to reinforce our foundation and engender biblical literacy. Here at the end of Paul's life, he could foresee the abandonment of truth, and he gave Timothy this antidote: "Preach the Word!"
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6/21/2020
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Seeing God as Father
Luke 11:2
Skip Heitzig
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God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
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6/28/2020
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How Can I Relate to God?
Exodus 32-34
Skip Heitzig
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The subject of God is the loftiest of all themes and the pinnacle of all pursuits. For some people, the idea of God is absurd because He is not readily perceived by the senses, like a flower or another person. But as we learn who God is and how perceptible He is to us, I think we’ll be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. Today we trace the journey that every person must take who wants to relate to the God of the universe. Let’s examine five stages of this relationship.
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7/5/2020
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Biblical History: Fact or Fancy?
Dr. Steven Collins
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Dr. Steven Collins serves as the dean of the College of Archaeology at Veritas International University and a consulting research professor at Trinity Southwest University. He is also the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, which is believed to be the location of Sodom.
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7/12/2020
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Hello, I’m God!
Exodus 34:5-9
Skip Heitzig
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People have written and spoken about God for millennia. It’s what I have done for nearly four decades. But today we get to hear from God Himself as He gives to Moses His own autobiography. Here He introduces Himself by stating His name and His occupation as God. He states His primary character traits, thus framing what our relationship with Him is going to be like. This is a primary passage of Scripture, meaning other biblical authors make reference to it later on in their writings. Let’s find out what God says about Himself.
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7/26/2020
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Here, There, and Everywhere
Psalm 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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One of the Beatles’ most melodic hits expressed a couple’s romantic desire to be together at all times and in all places and was simply titled, “Here, There and Everywhere.” This title also expresses a unique attribute of God (what theologians call an incommunicable attribute). He is everywhere present in the totality of His being! This may be one of the hardest-to-understand characteristics of God, but one that brings great comfort to us.
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8/2/2020
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The Unrivaled Power of God
Psalm 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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God is called Almighty fifty-seven times in Scripture. It means that the resources of His power are boundless. He is unlimited in His ability and unconstrained in His capacity. God’s attribute of omnipotence is helpful for us to remember when we are feeling overwhelmed with threatening circumstances. Just as we feel confident when our mobile devices have plenty of battery power to spare, we can live confidently knowing that our great God has power for any of our problems.
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8/9/2020
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Holy, Holy, Holy!
Isaiah 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Holiness sounds scary. Thoughts of dusty, cloistered halls of a monastery fill our minds when we hear the word. We might think of chants and long prayers rather than anthems and short prayers. It hardly seems like an appropriate word for the twenty-first century! But according to one theologian, God’s holiness is the one attribute that binds all His other attributes together. This is the characteristic that most uniquely describes God. Let’s consider it today.
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8/16/2020
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One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
John 14:1-18
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?
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8/23/2020
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Pain: God’s Biggest Problem
John 9:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Perhaps the biggest impediment to believing in God (as stated by those who don’t) is the presence of pain and suffering in the world. How can there be a God who is benevolent and omnipotent with the sheer volume of grief, misery, travail, and torment at any given moment? Today we explore the theme of a loving God in a universe pockmarked by pain. As Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, they came across a blind man. I’d like to show you four features of this most common and universal of human experiences.
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8/30/2020
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Christ Jesus Our Lord
Philippians 2:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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At the very center of history’s stage stands Jesus Christ. He has no peers. The Father in heaven sent Him on the mission of redemption and He humbly surrendered. When it was accomplished, He conquered death itself by resurrection and returned to glory. In what is considered by many to be the greatest single statement about Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Paul succinctly framed His humiliation, His exaltation, and His example to us.
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9/6/2020
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The Atonement: His Death, Our Life
John 12:20-33
Skip Heitzig
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Wasn’t there any other way for God to save human beings than by sending His Son to die? The very idea of a bloody crucifixion sounds brutal and barbarous to some, yet it is the centerpiece of our faith. What is the big deal about the atonement? Why the cross? Why had it been the plan of God through the ages? Today we examine the death of Christ for us and, in His own words, His own estimation of its necessity and consequence.
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9/13/2020
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He’s Alive! Proofs of the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Just as your own heart is the pump that brings life-giving blood to your entire body, so is the resurrection of Jesus that gives life to the gospel message. Without it, our faith would be totally useless; our message would be utterly powerless. The resurrection is also what separates Jesus Christ from every other spiritual leader and would-be messiah. It validates His teaching. It authenticates His claims. It substantiates His promises. And it corroborates our confidence in Him as our Savior and Lord.
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9/20/2020
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The Holy Spirit in the World
John 16:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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We are not alone in the universe! That’s the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but I’m not referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, I am referring to the Holy Spirit. He has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. In our series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we will turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?
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10/11/2020
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?
John 16
Nate Heitzig
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There can be a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding the Holy Spirit. When we look to Scripture, however, the third person of the Godhead comes into clear focus. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig describes the person of the Holy Spirit, His work both at scale in the world and individually in the hearts of believers, and how He helps you gain a deeper understanding of God's Word.
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10/18/2020
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Help Has Arrived!
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Someone said to me this past week, “Life is hard, but God is good!” We all know it’s true. To live for God in an ungodly world is challenging, sometimes daunting. But God never intended for us to try it alone! He has provided for us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is not only at work in the world around us but is very busy working inside of us. Let’s drill down into the promise Jesus gave to His disciples in the upper room about the coming Spirit.
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10/25/2020
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God’s Purpose for People
Genesis 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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After spending several weeks considering God’s nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one’s life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. Let’s go back to the beginning.
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11/1/2020
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The Dark Side
Romans 3:10-26
Nate Heitzig
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God created humans in His own image. But even with God's imprint in humanity, people have a dark side—a sin nature—because of Adam and Eve's rebellion. One consequence of our rebellion against God is guilt, but in today's society, many people try to minimize both sin and guilt by casting them in a deceptively benign light. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig looks at what the book of Romans has to say about our true condition and its only remedy.
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11/15/2020
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Once Dead, Now Alive!
Ephesians 2:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Of all the doctrines that adorn the New Testament, salvation is the most personal and the most transformative. Below are the various stages that every saved person goes through in coming to Christ. Today, try to remember what it was like for you when Jesus became real to you and you realized your need for Him to save you, then answer this fundamental question: How has your conversion changed your contentment?
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11/22/2020
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I’m a Christian—Now What?
Romans 8:12-17
Skip Heitzig
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Once you decide to repent from your past, say yes to Jesus Christ, and invite Him into your heart, you begin a lifelong relationship with Him. Nothing stays the same. Paul wrote, “Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). Conversion is the gateway to transformation. Let’s consider four clear experiences that happen in the life of everyone who believes.
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11/29/2020
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The Angels of God
Hebrews 1
Skip Heitzig
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Angels are largely relegated to the realms of mythology and childhood fantasy. Most people never think about them. But angels are very, very real. Martin Luther commented, “An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body, for the service of Christendom and of the church.” He was partly correct, but angels serve an even greater role than being strictly for the church. Their ministry objective is principally concerned with the glory and majesty of God. Let’s explore some of the noteworthy traits that angels have.
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There are 21 additional messages in this series.
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